2

If heavy metals are present in water would they precipitate to the bottom of a container if the water is left decanting long enough?

This would be in order to reduce water contamination when no filters are available.

4

Precipitation and decantation are two different things. If left alone, dissolved heavy metals would never go down to the bottom of a container (countering the gravity pull for an ion over 10 cm costs around 1e-27 J whereas room temperature provide around 1e-21 J to the ion : this means that it gets kicked all around the container and never settles down).

On the other hand, if you add some chemicals which combine with the metal and form large chunks as they precipitate, then using decantation could become possible, though that is definitely not a procedure I would advise you to test on your own.

1
  • thanks for the informative answer.
    – user8403
    Feb 3 '20 at 5:58

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